Diabetes Mellitus

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Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes is a chronic, genetically determined, debilitating disease that affects every organ system. There are two major types of diabetes: Type I and Type II. Type I or insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), is caused by the autoimmune destruction of the insulin producing cells of the pancreas and is usually, but not always diagnosed in childhood. People with type I diabetes must take insulin shots in order to survive. Type II diabetes or non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), are usually diagnosed in adulthood. They produce insulin, but their bodies do not use it effectively or properly. While many modern diseases plague society, diabetes has been known for many centuries (Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, 1-3).
Type I diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults and was previously known as juvenile diabetes. In type I diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use sugar. Sugar is the basic fuel for the cells in the body, and insulin takes the sugar from the blood into the cells. When sugar builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can cause two problems: cells may be starved for energy, and over time, high blood sugar levels may hurt your eyes, kidneys, nerves, or heart.
Type II diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. In type II diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use sugar. Type II diabetes accounts for 90 to 95% of diabetes. Type II diabetes is nearing epidemic proportions, due to an increased number of older Americans, and a greater prevalence of obesity and sedentary lifestyles (Hoffman, 34-49).
Diabetes is the leading cause of death. It is the leading cause of kidney failure, adult blindness, and non-traumatic amputations. People who have diabetes are two to four times more likely to have a heart attack or a stroke. Life expectancy of people who have this disease, on the average is fifteen years, less than that of people who do not have the disease. It is also the leading cause of nerve damage (Hoffman, 34-49).
IDDM can cause problems that should be prepared for. The three key problems: Hyp...

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...r and neurological diseases. Chronic hyperglycemia activates a metabolic reaction cascade that leads to cellular damage in small to medium blood vessels and peripheral nerves. Nerve damage is the most common complication of diabetes mellitus, and can lead to impotence, incontinence, and loss of sensation from affected areas (Saladin, 656).
The last effect makes a patient dangerously unaware of major injuries, which can fester from neglect and contribute to gangrene and the necessity of amputation. Many diabetics lose their toes, feet, or legs to the disease. The cardiovascular effects include degeneration of the small arteries of the retina and the kidneys, leading to blindness and kidney failure as common complications. People with type I diabetes are more likely to die of kidney failure than those with type II diabetes.
Diabetes also promotes atherocslerosis, the blockage of blood vessels with fatty deposits, causing poor circulation. In type II diabetes, the most common cause of death is heart failure stemming from atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries. Atherosclerosis also contributes to renal failure and gangrene.
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